Animal Kingdom Exhibition

In Josh Agle’s Animal Kingdom exhibition the characters are dressed as animals, each representing a human trait. The Animal Kingdom exhibition run at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, California from February 11th to March 3rd, 2012. The show was named after the Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

Shag was inspired by a 1970’s sewing pattern for an animal costume which included a single body but several sets of ears and tails to create different animals. He states “it’s not stated directly, but in most of the paintings, the woman is in control of the situation. So, a lot of the paintings have women and men or a woman and a man, and just by how they are dressed and how the woman is posed, you can see that she is in charge”. Shag continues his thought with the Playboy bunny “women would put on a bathing suit and then some ears and a tail and all of a sudden they were a bunny”, adding he’s intrigued by “what that said about the women in the Playboy Club and the men who went there”.

Exhibition poster for Animal Kingdom (18″ x 24″):

Josh Agle was also inspired by furry fandom and anime costume. He explains “I love looking into subcultures. Whether or not I’m interested in it myself, I love that people throw themselves into it wholeheartedly”. He was also intrigued by the notion of costumed people ‘hooking up’ – “In my paintings, I always try to reference our connection to our prehistoric selves as human beings. Since we’re descended from earlier mammals, maybe these people are more in touch with their primal being”.

Especially interesting for Shag was characters with animal attributes, such as catgirls, where no explanation is given for the tail – “I found that intriguing as well because it says something about the character, but never directly references that fact”.

Exhibition show card for Animal Kingdom (5.5″ x 8.5″):

The subdued palette of the 2009 show Autumn’s Come Undone is replaced by the vivid hues of the 1960s and 1970s. Shag states “When I first started painting, it was all about the ’50s. I loved the look of the ’50s. Then it moved to the ’60s. Now it’s kind of moving toward the ’70s. Maybe one day I’ll actually reach the 2010s or 2012″. He explains “Colors have become more radiant, and the men and women in the paintings seem happier and more satisfied in their hedonistic lifestyles”.

There were fifteen acrylic on panel original paintings shown at the Animal Kingdom exhibition, each with a short story available via an audio jack or via a Q code on a printed label. These paintings were as follows:

Predators and Prey
Acrylic on Panel (34″ x 96″)
Cost: $40,000 USD
Soon the gorgeous furniture, the lime green carpeting, the sculptures and the paintings will be covered in gore. The indoor rivers and fountains will turn pink from the blood of the helpless prey, who will have met their demises willingly, slightly tipsy from Screwdrivers and Vodka Tonics.

White Paw
Acrylic on Panel (16″ x 22″)
Cost: $9,000 USD
She’d asked him to fix the icemaker many times this month, and his excuse was always ‘I can’t find my screwdriver.’
The Wayward Cub
Acrylic on Panel (15″ x 24″)
Cost: $9,000 USD
She didn’t have a problem with Steve’s drinking until the first drop of his Purple Rain hit the snowy white fur of her ex-husband.
Oscar Hirsh, Esq.
Acrylic on Panel (14″ x 26″)
Cost: $9,000 USD
Deirdre quickly tired of Keith’s need to be accompanied by his personal counsel at all times. Sure, Oscar could tell a wicked dirty joke, but his habit of whispering into Keith’s ear constantly while she and he talked soon drove her to end the relationship.
The Cat Carrier
Acrylic on Panel (18″ x 24″)
Cost: $10,000 USD
The cat is resigned to the rest of her day being ruined: ‘Nothing good ever happens when they put you into one of these cages’. The cat fanciers are unconcerned – they know she will return with a dye job to match their own outfits. Could anything be better?
The Cutter
Acrylic on Panel (20″ X 27″)
Cost: $10,000 USD
It’s a minor trick, and keeps her entertained for just a few seconds, but her slight smile is worth the effort. She hasn’t been herself since Barcelona banned the bullfights.

Sneaking Screwdrivers
Acrylic on Panel (13″ x 16″)
Cost: $7,000 USD
She’d caught him sneaking drinks before, but this time was different. Those drinks were special! She’d just made them with Belvedere and fresh squeezed, and her guests were about to arrive.
The Riding Crop
Acrylic on Panel (19″ x 27″)
Cost: $11,000 USD
Both girls eyed the riding crop – they knew one of them would be forced to use it soon. They were strict vegetarians, and detested animal cruelty of any kind, but sometimes there came a point when violence was the only solution.
Prelude to the Duel
Acrylic on Panel (23″ x 49″)
Cost: $16,000 USD
His great-grandfather had owned those pistols. They hadn’t been fired since Great Granddad killed Great Uncle Ned in 1921. He hoped they still worked, for he detested nothing more than a vandal.
The Stag Party
Acrylic on Panel (20″ x 32″)
Cost: $12,000 USD
Both dancers were too young to know how to work a record player. Paul had to show them, careful not to scratch the vinyl. It was a Jimmy Smith song, ‘The Cat.’ They’d never heard it, but liked it well enough.
The Blackest Lamb
Acrylic on Panel (14″ x 16″)
Cost: $7,000 USD
The young black sheep, suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, finds refuge in alcohol and tobacco. He will go to his room, play his X-box for 17 hours straight, and fall asleep at 3:00 am. When he is 22, his gaming company will go public, and he will buy that house in Malibu that you covet each time you drive past it on Pacific Coast Highway.
The Larva
Acrylic on Panel (10″ x 11″)
Cost: $5,000 USD
She knew it wasn’t really the larva speaking, rather David had honed his ventriloquist skills since the last time she’d been with him. Still, that squeaky voice, with it’s slight French accent, was offputting. She called a town car and got the hell out of there.
Black Kitten in Orange
Acrylic on Panel (10″ x 13″)
Cost $4,000 USD
It’s midnight. She has been waiting for her lover to arrive since 7:00. Even if he doesn’t get there until 1:00 am, the wait will be worth it. He’s getting takeout at Umami.
Black Kitten in Green
Acrylic on Panel (10″ x 13″)
Cost $4,000 USD
She won’t blow on the dandelion. She will crush it and crumple it into a small ball of greenish fiber and juice, taking care not to let any of the floating seeds escape. She just put in a new lawn at the Roscomare house.
Black Kitten in Purple
Acrylic on Panel (10″ x 13″)
Cost $4,000 USD
One bottle and two glasses sit on the table. She’s been waiting a long time for him to arrive. Slowly she comes to the realization that Craigslist is not the best place to meet a man.

And to finish, a few photographs from the Animal Kingdom opening event:

Seen Again?
The Cutter in 2022 (thanks Elena):

Kitten and Pup in 2023 – auctioned by Highes Auctions for £3,500 (not entirely sure of the source exhibition… message me if you know):

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